Belgian melanoma research acknowledged internationally

Source: VUB Today, July 2017

Melanoma is an aggressive form of skin cancer, that is most prevalent among men and women in their sixties, but also affects significant groups of young people. It has become one of the most prevalent cancers among women between 25 and 29 years old. The melanoma research of professor Karine Breckpot of Vrije Universiteit Brussel has been selected for a grant by the Melanoma Research Alliance (MRA), the largest private funder of melanoma research in the world.

The incidence of melanoma has dramatically increased over the past decades and is now higher than most other cancers. Still the human immune system should theoretically be able to detect melanoma cells and destroy them. That some people develop melanoma skin cancer nonetheless, is due to the fact that melanoma cells can camouflage themselves, and thus avoid attacks from the immune system. Furthermore melanoma cells manage to exploit so called ‘stimulus inhibiting circuits’ in the cells to slow down or even completely stop the immune system.

 

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